This past November, the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven held a kickoff meeting and information session to announce its second Create a Jewish Legacy initiative in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY® program. A strong start to the program, the kickoff included an enlightening and inspiring presentation from Arlene D. Schiff, Senior Advisor of LIFE & LEGACY and Greater New Haven’s community consultant. The kickoff was a great success. Attended on Zoom by nearly 60 representatives of Jewish organizations in Greater New Haven, the meeting resulted in the commitment of 14 synagogues and agencies to the initiative—a diverse and passionate cohort that is committed to the Jewish future of Greater New Haven. (Full list of participating organizations below.)
Launched nationally by the Grinspoon Foundation in 2012, LIFE & LEGACY provides training, support, and monetary incentives to help Jewish organizations secure their individual financial futures by spearheading their own endowment and bequest drives. Greater New Haven was one of the very first communities selected to participate in this important program in 2012, and between 2013 and 2016 the Jewish Foundation distributed over $300,000 in incentive grants to participating local Jewish organizations and synagogues and secured legacy commitments from over 375 households, totaling an estimated $8.1 million.
The Jewish Foundation’s second 4-year Create a Jewish Legacy initiative aims to steward, sustain, and build on all that we have already accomplished together as well as to further assist our organizations in integrating legacy giving into their culture. To achieve this mission, the Jewish Foundation will distribute $170,000 in incentive grants over the next 4 years, host professional training sessions in partnership with the Grinspoon Foundation, and provide consulting, marketing, and publicity resources to participating organizations.
The program officially launched on January 1, 2023, and the Legacy Teams from each agency are currently drafting Legacy Action Plans using materials and strategies from their first training workshop. Additional workshops in this first year will include trainings on holding successful legacy conversations, marketing a legacy campaign, and stewarding donors. Even in just the past few months, this work has already made a big impact. Legacy Team member Susan Voigt recently created a legacy for her synagogue, Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel in New Haven. Said Susan, “I am excited to leave a two-fold legacy. My greatest legacy is having 3 children and now 7 grandchildren. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I can say, ‘We live on! We thrive!’ My second legacy is to my shul, Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel. I created a legacy for BEKI in my estate plans so that it can continue to be a place for families to learn and grow.”